U.S. patent office retracts rejection of Apple's iPad Mini trademark

Apple must waive exclusive right to 'Mini' before agency will award tablet trademark

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last week reversed itself, withdrawing a rejection of Apple's trademark application for "iPad Mini," according to a document published by the agency.

In an letter mailed to Apple last Wednesday, the USPTO said it was backing off reasons why it had provisionally denied the application.

"Upon further review of the application, the examining attorney has determined that the following refusals issued in the initial Office action should be withdrawn," the letter stated. "The examining attorney apologizes for any inconvenience caused."

Apple iPad Mini
Apple may be awarded the trademark for the "iPad Mini" after the U.S. patent office withdrew its earlier rejection of Apple's application. (Image: Apple)

In January, the USPTO had told Apple that it was bouncing the trademark application for the phrase "iPad Mini" because it judged the second word to be "... merely descriptive of a feature or characteristic of the goods." That objection has been withdrawn, as have others that said Apple submitted unsatisfactory examples of the proposed trademark.

But the USPTO continued to hold Apple to one requirement from January: It must waive any exclusive rights to the word "Mini."

"If applicant does not provide the required disclaimer, the USPTO may refuse to register the entire mark," the letter said. The agency recommended Apple amend the application with a disclaimer reading, "No claim is made to the exclusive right to use 'MINI' apart from the mark as shown."

Apple has six months to address the USPTO's requirement.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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